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General Science

A Shocking Catastrophe in Beirut

7 Aug 2020

The Beirut explosion may be the worst ammonium nitrate disaster in history, but it is not the first such calamity. Let’s go back to the early morning of April 16, 1947 when spectators flooded to...

Scents and Sensibilities

7 Aug 2020

It is quite amazing how very small changes in an odourant’s chemical structure can radically change our perception of its scent. For example, octanol, a synthetic compound used in perfumes and...

Proteins Unravelled

31 Jul 2020

I want you to close your eyes and imagine a protein. Anyone with aphantasia gets a free pass on this exercise, but I suspect that most people still won’t be able to do it. The word “protein” is...

Biting into Dental Fillings

22 Jul 2020

The common word in French for dental fillings is “plombage”, which may sound a little surprising since it roughly translates to “to fill with lead”. That is because if you had a cavity in France in...

Getting Antsy During COVID

15 Jul 2020

In this COVID era, nighttime entertainment often comes down to watching one of the plethora of programs offered by streaming services. Let me make a recommendation. Summer is a time for ants to...

Cherry-Picking in the Era of COVID-19

8 Jul 2020

President Trump recently claimed that the U.S. is doing very well in the battle against COVID-19 because the death rate from the disease is declining. This was said in support of his agenda of ...

There is More to Microbes than Viruses

23 Jun 2020

We have been inundated with discussions of viruses but there are other types of microbes out there as well. Fungi, algae, protozoa and of course, bacteria. The latter are not only out there, but...

Not As Advertised: The Case Against Flushable Wipes

18 Jun 2020

Are flushable wipes flushable? You may be retorting, “Is the sky blue?”, but there is reason to be skeptical. On-going media coverage tells us that so-called flushable wipes should not be disposed...

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